Goddess Isis – Hathor

Free-standing sculpture of the goddess Isis-Hathor. She is represented as a young woman, standing straight in the conventional pose of Egyptian deities: the left foot slightly forward as if walking, the right arm hanging down by the side and the left arm a little forward with a closed fist to hold the typical sceptre of the gods, the “was” sceptre. She is wearing a long, tight-fitting gown, covering the figure from the shoulders to the toes, but which clearly marks the breasts and the navel. The attributes that indicate the identity of the goddess are the characteristic hairstyle, a voluptuous triangular wig hanging down over both shoulders and down the back. We can just make out the “menat” collar she is wearing. The wig is decorated with incisions indicating royal cobras, sun disks, as well as the skin of a vulture in the upper area, from which protrudes the vulture head. The crown rests on this wig. It features a circular base made up of stylised cobras, topped by two long “atef” ostrich feathers, along with a crown made up of cow horns with a solar disk between them, icons of the goddess Hathor.

Both Hathor and Isis were two of the most important gods in the Egyptian pantheon. In many depictions of the two they embody similar attributes and powers, which leads to a syncretism of the two, depending on the role with which they are being identified.

The goddess Isis, according to myth, is the daughter of Geb and Nut, and sister of Osiris, to whom she was also considered to be wed. As a deity she was referred to as: “Great mother goddess”, “Great Sorceress”, “Queen of the Gods”, “Fecundating Force of Nature” and “Goddess of Maternity and Birth”.

Osiris reigned in Ancient Egypt in peace, harmony and with wisdom. The Nile fertilized the earth and the crops were abundant. One day, Osiris set off to discover other civilizations and left his kingdom under the control of his wife, Isis. Set, his jealous brother, felt humiliated as he thought that he should rule rather than Isis. When Osiris returned, he was murdered by his brother. The goddess Isis, with the aid of other divinities like Nephthys and Anubis, sought out and found the cut-up pieces of her husband and put them together through special rites. After physical union with the god she conceived a child. The posthumous son of Osiris was to be the Horus-child, Harpocrates, who later, would wreak revenge on Set for his father´s murder.

As one of the main deities, Isis was worshipped in all periods in the history of Egypt, and it was in the final epoch that the largest temple was built to her on the island of Philae. The Greco-Roman world adopted her characteristics and associated them with Aphrodite and Venus. Another of her principal characteristics, her being considered “Mother of God”, would also be relevant in the cults influencing Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.

Hathor is the goddess of the heavens, of love, happiness, music and dance. She is also the goddess protector of childbirth and children. This goddess is represented mainly as a woman with ears or the head of a cow, lyre-form horns and a solar disk. On occasion she is identified with other goddesses such as Sekhmet and Tefnut taking on the form of a lion, and with Bastet and Isis, with whom she is almost mistaken, and with whom she shares many legends and functions. She was one of the many goddesses who took on the role of the Eye of Ra, the female counterpart of Ra, and in this role she had a vindictive character which protected her from her enemies. Her benevolent side represented music, dance, happiness, love, sexuality and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of various male deities as well as being the mother of their children. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. They crossed the frontier between the worlds, helping the deceased in transition to life after death.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out through expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To release the final piece the mould must be removed.


- Catalogue Général des Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire. Statues de Divinités. Institut Français d’Archéologie Oriental. El Cairo. 1905. Item 38.979.
- Musée du Louvre. Paris. Figura E3637.
- Musée du Louvre. Paris. Figura N3808.


- Dieux, génis et démons en égypte ancienne: À la rencontre d'Osiris, Anubis, Isis, Hathor, Rê et les autres. Musée royal de Mariemont. Morlanwelz. 2016. p. 220.
- Servir les dieux d’Égypte. Divines adoratrices, chanteuses et prêtres d’Amon à Thèbes. Musée de Grenoble. Somogy Éditions d’Art. 2018. Pp. 264 - 265.

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